Why Driving Practice is so Important
A new driver’s risk of a crash declines rapidly after the first few hundred kilometres of driving. Practice driving with supervision is one very important factor that improves the safety of young novice drivers. Manitoba’s Graduated Driver Licensing Program encourages practice under low-risk, supervised conditions before drivers are given independent driving privileges.
For driver education students, practice is important during training. One to two hours of home-based, supervised driving practice between the student’s in-car driver education lessons is recommended. Each practice session should be 15 to 30 minutes long, and spread out through the week. This practice helps a student get the most out of the training provided.
In addition, home-based, supervised driving practice should continue after the driver education program is finished, until the road test is passed and independent driving begins. When driver education graduates simply wait out the time before they are eligible for the road test, practicing little, problems often result. Students may need to take the road test more than once, and more seriously, their risk of a crash has not declined.
Home-based practice adds extra value to driver education if it includes driving in conditions difficult to cover during the in-car training curriculum, such as night driving, gravel roads, and bad weather. These more challenging conditions should only be practiced near the end of the in-car training, and afterwards with a supervising driver.